Ina Fried

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AT&T’s LTE Network Isn’t Quite Running Yet, but Devices Go on Sale Sunday

AT&T said that on Sunday it will start selling its first devices capable of running on its new LTE network, although it has yet to make LTE service available.

The company will start selling a data stick and a mobile hotspot, both capable of running on both its existing HSPA+ and the forthcoming LTE network. AT&T has said that its LTE network will be available later this summer in five cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. The company aims to have service in at least 15 markets by the end of the year.

On the pricing side, AT&T said those who buy the new devices will pay the same $50 for five gigabytes of data as it charges for HSPA+ data access.

Verizon is further along with its LTE network, having begun its launch last year, while Sprint was even earlier with its WiMax-based 4G network. T-Mobile has gotten its fastest speeds through HSPA+, an evolutionary improvement to its 3G network. AT&T also has HSPA+ technology. All of these technologies are marketed by the carriers as “4G.”

In a hint of the marketing battle to come, AT&T noted that its network will be the only one to offer LTE and fall back to HSPA+ speeds where LTE is not available. While Verizon offers LTE in far more places, it falls back on older CDMA-based technology in places where LTE is not available.

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